One of the things that happens when you show up to the office in Lycra shorts everyday is that people, those who aren’t busy scoffing at or ignoring you, ask, “so, how far is your ride?”
I suspect this is, in part, a bit of posturing; an attempt to indicate that the person asking the question is, indeed, a hip, open minded individual who has no problem with any other person, even if that other person’s idea of a good time is riding around on a bicycle with very tight shorts.
Either that, or they’re just curious (but simple curiosity doesn’t fit into my current world view in which all people have strong opinions about cyclists and what they wear).
The question doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, and this may be surprising to hear, I very much enjoy talking cycling. So I tell them, as casually as possible, “oh, about 8 miles.” They sometimes follow-up with, “about how long does it take?” To which I respond, “a little less than an ½ hour.”
You’ll notice, I do not say “7.9 miles here and 8.05 home,” or, “on average 27, minutes. My PR, with fully packed bag, mind you, is around 25:42, that was going home. I find it a bit more difficult to warm up in the morning.” I don’t say all of that because I’m worried I might feed this person’s idea that all cyclists are elitist, self-absorbed snobs who will sacrifice life and limb to be ranked first on some random Strava segment.
We wouldn’t want any of that.
“About 8 miles.” I don’t even specify that’s each way, it’s a subtle message that I don’t care if they think my commute is half as long as it actually is. “A little less than half an hour.” Or, I don’t even care how long it takes.
In fact, I do care about those things which is why I don’t want to talk anymore when the response is, “oh, that’s not too bad.”
Indeed, it’s not too bad if you’re pro, semi-pro, weekend warrior, daily bike commuter or my daughter on her Skuut, but when you’re the dude who complains about having to park too far from the building, an 8 mile bike commute is, almost certainly, pretty damn far.